Christmas Kraut

  • 1 x 1.5 litre jar
  • 10 minutes
    10–14 days fermenting

‘Sour, spice and all things nice’ is the way I like to describe this Christmas kraut.

Course: Side
Recipe contains:

  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 650 g red cabbage
  • 1 green apple, cored but skin on
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 sachet vegetable starter culture (this will weigh 2–5 g, depending on the brand)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 orange, sliced into rounds
  • 1 radish, thinly sliced
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Cabbage and apple are pretty awesome in kraut, but when combined with cinnamon, clove and allspice and fermented for a week or two before Christmas, you have the absolute best accompaniment to serve with your Christmas ham or roast turkey. You could even have it with your eggs when you wake up on Christmas morning. Damn, it is good!

You will need a 1.5 litre sterilised preserving jar with an airlock lid for this recipe. You will also need to sterilise the knife, spoon, chopping board and glass or stainless steel bowl and jug you will be using. To do this, wash the jar and utensils thoroughly in very hot water or run them through a hot rinse cycle in the dishwasher.


Place the cloves in a small piece of muslin, tie into a bundle with kitchen string and set aside. Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage. Choose one of the outer leaves, wash well and set aside. Shred the cabbage and apple in a food processor with a shredding attachment, or use a mandoline or knife to chop by hand. Transfer the cabbage and apple to a large glass or stainless steel bowl and sprinkle over the salt and allspice. Mix well, cover and set aside.


Dissolve the starter culture in water according to the packet instructions (the amount of water will depend on the brand you are using). Add to the cabbage along with the bag of cloves, cinnamon, orange and radish and gently mix. Fill the prepared jar with the cabbage mixture, pressing down well with a large spoon or potato masher to remove any air pockets. Leave 2 cm of room free at the top. The cabbage mixture should be completely submerged in the liquid, so add more water if necessary.


Fold up the reserved cabbage leaf and place it on top of the mixture, then add a small glass weight (a shot glass is ideal) to keep everything submerged. Close the lid, then wrap a tea towel around the side of the jar to block out the light. Store the jar in a dark place with a temperature of 16–23°C for 10–14 days. (You can place the jar in an esky to maintain a more consistent temperature.) The longer you leave the jar, the higher the level of good bacteria present and the tangier the flavour.


Chill before eating.


Once opened, the kraut will last for up to 2 months in the fridge submerged in the liquid. If unopened, it will keep for up to 9 months in the fridge.